Remember that old saying from the 1980’s cartoon G.I. Joe… “knowing is half the battle”? Let us take this concept one step further when it comes to trouble shooting. Inevitably as you work towards inclusion and transitioning teens from children’s ministry into student ministry you will run into some snags. Transitions are difficult. Trusted routines developed over years can be difficult for anyone to change. Then throw in the additional stimuli that a new student ministry environment brings and sometimes you have a recipe for difficulties.
Yes, you need to be creative. Yes, you need to keep trying new things. Yes, you must make a vow to never give up. But when you find yourself in a difficult situation ask yourself this question: “Do I have all the information?” Sure, you have the info sheet that your ministry created. Sure, you have had the meetings with families and guardians. But do you have all the information available to you? If you don’t have access to a current I.E.P. you may be missing something.
An I.E.P. is an Individualized Education Plan. You may be thinking to yourself, this isn’t school. Why would I need that? Professionally trained educators work hard daily with the same students you see only once a week. They have over the course of years developed a plan that helps students be successful. There is no doubt information in those I.E.P.s that can help you. All you need to do is ask. If the families are willing to sign off on you having access to it, it may give you needed missing information.
Consistency is king. What if you could provide the same expectations and supports on Sunday that your teen gets Monday through Friday? When everyone works together good things happen. Sure, you may not have an Intervention Specialist at your disposal, but what you do have is more information. You can speak the same language that your teen is used to hearing at school. You now have an additional tool to give better chances for success. Never shy away from asking for help.